We all buy clothes, but no two people shop the same. It can be a social experience, and a deeply personal one; at times, it can be impulsive and entertaining, at others, purpose-driven, a chore. Where do you shop? When do you shop? How do you decide what you need, how much to spend and what's "you"? These are some of the questions we're putting to prominent figures in the fashion industry with our column, "How I Shop."
If you've never watched E!'s reality show "Rich Kids of Beverly Hills," let me paint a picture for you: it follows a group of attractive, wealthy 20-somethings as they travel the world, hit up Los Angeles's most elite hotspots, fall in (and out of) love, go to spin class, frequently bicker and, of course, shop, while meticulously capturing their day-to-day adventures on Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat. Each episode doubles as a veritable parade of designer fashion, with Hermès handbags, Dior sunglasses, Christian Louboutin shoes and the like in heavy supply. Hashtag blessed.
The series' two most-followed cast members are hilarious best friends Dorothy Wang and Morgan Stewart, whose wardrobes are as impressive in scale as their social media followings. It was clear from the very first episode that fashion plays a significant role in both of their lives: Wang's father, Roger Wang, is the CEO of Golden Eagle Retail Group, which operates department stores and malls around China; Stewart runs a blog called "Boobs and Loubs" and is currently collaborating on a line of activewear with LA-based label Touché. On Sunday, the show will enter its fourth season, which promises to deliver on the style front as much as ever — in fact, viewers will get to join Stewart on the hunt for her wedding dress.
In the weeks leading up to the premiere, I hopped on the phone with Wang and Stewart to discuss — what else! — their shopping habits, which they've perfectly honed over the years growing up in the 90210. Read on to find out the duo's thoughts on retiring "It" items that have turned basic, repeating outfits on Instagram, which retailer's sales associates have them on speed dial and much more.
At what age did you each fall in love with shopping?
Morgan Stewart: For me, I was shopping with my mom at a young age. It was definitely something that I've always I enjoyed and it wasn't something I had to grow into necessarily. I just liked it from the beginning.
Dorothy Wang: When I was very young I always had to go shop with my mom — I absolutely didn't like it, but also because we were shopping for her. It took a while for me to grow into it. I had to go with her when Escada was, like, everything at the Beverly Wilshire. She could always get me to go because she would promise me a milkshake after. I didn't really love shopping until I was in my early teens — probably when I was 12 or 13. In the beginning, it was more like a task.
Do you prefer to shop in-store or online?
MS: Recently, it's been more of an online thing, which I prefer. When I shop in-store, I have to shop alone. Shopping is fun, but I take it a little bit seriously and I can't be distracted and can't be with other people. I can go with someone else if they want to invite me and I can help them with what I think would be best for them. But shopping for myself, I prefer to look online because I feel like you get better options and cooler choices are available.
DW: Yeah, you can go on a leisurely shopping trip with your friends, but if you're actually on a mission to find something, I prefer to go alone or with my mom and sister. When it's family, I don't feel bad making them wait. You know what I mean? I'm always slow and when my friends are waiting for me I end up getting rushed and buying things I don't necessarily want. But when it comes to online or in-store, I always prefer in-store just to try things on. Whenever I order online, I end up ordering three sizes just to be safe. And then that always means that you have to go to the post office to send back stuff, which is a little bit annoying.
Are you frequent impulse shoppers? Or often buy things you're unsure about and return them later?
DW: Never. Ne-ver. If I buy something, I don't return it. And I think Morgan's the same. We definitely think about it. And we certainly don't wear it and return it, which some people do.
MS: I definitely impulse-buy things that don't necessarily go together or things I don't need — like random shoes that are like very theme-oriented. But I will never return them.
DW: We make our decision and we stick with it. And then if you don't wear it, you think about it and you see it in your closet. I have these Chanel shoes that I was die-hard about buying when I was in Hong Kong that were very expensive and I haven't worn them once. So I put them in the middle of my closet so I see them everyday. I just think about how wasteful it was and how I shouldn't have done that.
Do you pay close attention to runway collections and get shopping ideas from there?
DW: I think to a certain extent. Sometimes I feel like people are like, Oh my God, did you watch the blah, blah, blah runway show? And I'm like, no, like everyone else in the world does. I think we definitely catch some stuff. I don't see every single one. I'll end up seeing the highlights that people put together.
MS: That's exactly what I was going to say. Things that we should know about kind of find their way to us. And we're not religiously watching the Givenchy show. But also, we don't dress in head-to-toe runway looks. I feel like that's for the really unimaginative type of person. You need to be able to create your own looks and I think that's something that we both do pretty well.
Are you on a friendly basis with your local shopkeepers?
MS: Oh my God. We only have friends that work in retail I feel like! The rest of them have fallen off. Literally, I feel like we are friends with every single person in every single store.
DW: Morgan and I have the same Barneys associate and she's on it.
MS: I get annoyed. Like, stop sending me shoes.
DW: And yeah, it's always a weird piece she knows neither of us are going to buy, but she still sends it.
MS: It's always Alaïa or something, with pony hair or some crocodile trim to up the price.
How would you both describe your personal style or your daily uniform, and how long ago did your tastes start to settle and you stopped changing your mind about what you like?
MS: I've actually been thinking a lot about it recently — I want to change it up a little bit. It's getting a little bit too uniform and predictable at this point. But I have always had the same taste even when I was a teenager. I gravitated towards the same sheer black blouse for some reason. It's just kind of elevated over time. But I'm very much into jeans, T-shirts, blazers, button-ups. I love a pointy heel — I have them in every color. I wear workout clothes if I don't have anything scheduled for the day.
DW: For me it's a little bit different — I think I still wake up and have a different style everyday. I don't really have a constant. But even though we're always shopping and buying things, somehow like we end up in the same uniform every day. Like right now, I feel like I've been wearing these Hermès construction boots, leggings and a black leather jacket. That's my day-to-day, running around type of outfit.
Do you frequently get rid of old clothes, or are you a fashion hoarder?
MS: I used to get rid of stuff all the time — every season I was like, I'm never looking at this again and I just wanted it gone and I'd get into a fight with my clothes. And now as I've gotten a little bit older, I really hold onto things because everything comes back. Or all of a sudden you have an outfit and that shirt would've been perfect for it.
DW: I definitely need to clean more. I did an online closet sale a year and a half, maybe two years ago. But I just have so much.
Do you retire trendy items like, say, Valentino Rockstuds, because they become "basic?"
MS: Once something has had its moment, it's become oversaturated or the entire world seems to be wearing it, I can't do it anymore. I have to jump off the boat.
DW: Yeah, I think so, too, but I also don't care as much. I'll wear it if I want. But it's not your "show piece" anymore. You don't end up wearing it for the main event, like the big going-out night and you're not repping it anymore. Like, Oh, look I have these shoes like you would've in the beginning.
How much do Instagram and social media factor into things that you decide to buy?
DW: We definitely end up having to buy stuff for [filming the show]. Like, this would be great for press, or this would be great for interviews when we're sitting down, but I don't think we buy things to just post on social media.
MS: Dorothy gave my answer. That's 100 percent correct.
DW: But [if we] wear something once very publicly, then maybe in a month we can wear it to a private dinner with a few friends. And then you don't do a full standing [Instagram] photo.
What is your favorite item of clothing or accessory that you own that you would never give away?
DW: My Saint Laurent leather jacket. I feel like I wear it every day. With the leather, it's now gone to a really good place where it's not stiff.
MS: A leather jacket for sure. That was my answer. But hands down, you cannot give up a leather jacket. Even if you try not to wear it, you just wear it every day.
Morgan, you're clearly a Louboutin fan, do you have a favorite pair?
MS: I guess my first pair. I remember not even knowing what the brand was, but I just remember seeing the store and being drawn into it. I went in and I bought these dark green, suede pointy Pigalles and they were $525. I don't have them anymore and that's sad, that's my biggest memory. And I wish. I wish. I tried to recreate that look three years ago, but it just wasn't the same.
Is there one item that, no matter how large your collection gets, you keep buying it anyway?
MS: I feel like my jeans... they are my favorite things in my closet.
DW: I think for me it was the Birkins, Kellys and Hermès bags. For a while it was like, let's buy everything all at once! And now I've kind of just reached my point with them.
Do you work with stylists or personal shoppers ever?
MS: No, we do it all by ourselves. People are surprised by that, actually.
Catch the premiere of "Rich Kids of Beverly Hills" on Sun., May 1 at 10 p.m. EST.
This interview has been edited and condensed.